Friday, August 05, 2011

Defending the SIS

There's a lot of shit going round the blogosphere this morning about the SIS's release of a document which made Phil Goff look bad to a sewerblogger "in preference" to the media. The Dim-Post is curious, Scoop's Sludge says they have been politicized, and Labour hack John Pagani calls it "treasonous". But it turns out that its nothing of the sort, and there is a very good reason for the difference in timeframes. From Stuff today:

Mr Slater was given the documents five working days after he made the request. Fairfax Media, who made a similar request, received the document last night along with a letter from Dr Tucker which said: "Your request differs from Mr Slater's in that you have also requested reports prepared for the prime minister".
Which seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I hate the SIS. I think they are a danger to our democracy which should be disbanded (it doesn't help that they're also an obvious waste of money, unable to perform even their core function of vetting people properly). But speaking as someone who has made hundreds of requests this year alone, sometimes an OIA delay is just a delay, rather than a conspiracy.

(As for the actual issue, Ministers and MPs receive a lot of information, and I would not be surprised at all if they forgot something mentioned in passing. And I'd expect them to be aware of that problem, rather than arrogantly assuming they have total recall of every document which has ever passed their desk)